Late Sunday games will be posted later. We’re going with a clickbait strategy. Soon we’ll be posting one game at a time. We apologize to all of our readers who took the 5-to-1 odds that we would get all picks posted by Thursday for 2 weeks in a row. We sincerely hope that (1) you know us better than that and (2) your gambling problem doesn’t end you up in the poorhouse one day.
We pulled out a winning record in Week 1. See the Results page for more.
Our Fireball shot scale generated some reader controversy, or as they say in Great Britain, reader controversy. We picked half the games as 3-Fireball shot games, and split those going 4-4. Remember, 3 Fireball Shots means we’re irrationally confident about the game.
Answers to the two most common question we got are below:
We had 3-Fireball conviction on half the games because we’re really good at believing our own bullshit
If you bet a 3-Fireball game and lose, we don't owe you 3 Fireball shots.
Week 2 coming up. Still not ready to say that teams figured out their identities. Or are in full physical conditioning. Or know all their teammates’ names.
CINCINNATI (1-0) -0.5 vs Baltimore (1-0)
It’s too early in the season to have a point of view on either of these teams. Cincy was up 4 and in danger of losing … but they got a late defensive TD. Baltimore whomped Buffalo from the very first play … but Nathan Peterman. Take Baltimore’s defense over Andy Dalton. His game vs Indy was solid but the Ravens are faster in the secondary and he’ll be pressured more. A bad combination.
Everyone is on the Ravens. So are we, but without a lot of conviction. Everyone is usually wrong.
Pick: Ravens +0.5
2 Fireball shots
Bonus pick: under 44.
Sunday Early Games
GREEN BAY (1-0) -0.5 vs Minnesota (1-0)
Our “About” page says that sometimes the line moves and we look silly. That works the other way, too. This line posted Tuesday with unclear status on Aaron Rodgers. News today (Thursday) is that his knee couldn't get an MRI because it was still too swollen. Not a good sign for Sunday.
But wait, it gets sooo much better.
We love Minnesota this year. (At least one of us thinks that Kirk Cousins is an MVP candidate.) Even with Rodgers we’d take Minnesota in a pick ‘em. Now there’s a good chance we’re going to get ….. wait for it …… Kizer So-So! (Ed. Note: Kizer So-so is a registered trademark of Inside Water Investments, LLC. All rights reserved.)
So-so took 14 snaps last week while Rodgers was getting in the locker room getting cadaver implants or baby placenta injections or some shit. He committed 2 turnovers.
Pick: Vikings +0.5
3 Fireball shots!
TENNESSEE (0-1) -0.5 vs Houston (0-1)
This is an overreaction line. The Tennessee game took 8 hours, makes it hard to tell what those teams got going on. When the weather delays finally passed, the 4th quarter was a track meet. 6 scores, 17 points by each team. But when it was all over …. it was still Miami vs Tennessee. Houston played crappy for the first half at New England. They got down 21-6 and then made it respectable. Both teams lost 27-20 on the road. So if you based your pick just on that, would you pick the team that lost at the Patriots or the one that lost at Miami? We thought so.
Pick: Houston +0.5
3 Fireball Shots!
NEW ORLEANS (0-1) -8.5 vs Cleveland (0-0-1)
Cleveland forced 6 turnovers last week and tied. The Saints put up 40 and got outscored. Maybe for the rest of the league it’s still early, but these two teams are in midseason form. Games like these are deceptively easy to bet. Ask yourself two questions.
Is this really a one-touchdown game?
Will Cleveland outscore the Saints?
Pick: Saints -8.5
3 Fireball shots
NY JETS (1-0) -2.5 vs Miami (1-0)
I talked to a Jets fan today. Just for fun I asked what he thought about Sam Darnold. He said he was trying not to get his expectations out of whack. This is orgasmic fanboy-level response in Jets-speak. Like how Eagles fans respond every time they hear that something, somewhere, is the color green. Remember that Jets fans were excited over Tim Tebow under center. QB play not exactly a hallmark of Jets football.
Miami outlasts Tennessee in an 8-hour game as a home underdog, and somehow they’re going to hang with the Jets on the road? By less than a field goal? It might be a blowout.
Pick: Jets -2.5
2 Fireball shots
Philadelphia (1-0) -3.5 at TAMPA BAY (1-0)
If Tampa Bay covers this spread they may be the surprise team of 2018. Fitz-magic would be a thing. And the NFC South would have 4 monster teams. We’d like to see that. We have a few rules that come into play here:
We love the NFC South (even though the Falcons play there)
We love the hook
We love the short home dog
We promise this is not a pick against the Eagles. We had a long conversation today about how maybe the Eagles simply are good, and not just G-D lucky bastards.
Pick: Bucs +3.5
2 Fireball shots
Bonus Pick: Eagles good (pick ‘em) vs Eagles G-D lucky bastards.
LA Chargers (0-1) -7.5 at BUFFALO (0-1)
Allen/Peterman combined stats: a Tebow-esque 11/33, 70 yds, 2 picks, 6 sacks, 17.1 rating. At one point Peterman threw an incompletion and his QBR went up. The Bills do not have a 3rd string QB on the roster. That is a bad sign for playing football.
But Allen/Peterman does have a good ring to it, like a South Beach ad agency or a high-end men’s’ salon. You could combine these and do a show about Josh and Nathan, owners of Allen/Peterman, a high-end South Beach men’s salon.
The show’s hook? 2/3 of the time they accidentally slit your throat or give you 3rd degree facial burns with your hot towel. If that’s not enough to get Netflix to fork over $50MM to get that in development, we have 5 words for you: Bills Mafia in South Beach.
Even the Chargers can’t mess this up. Bahahahaahah! Of course they’re going to not cover this spread. Flying back for an early East Coast game with 100% expectation that they’ll win? Vegas is pretty sharp not making this line even higher. And the Chargers being 0-2 and facing a must win in week 3 vs the Rams to keep playoff hopes alive is pretty much expected.
Pick: Bills +7.5
1 Fireball shot
ATLANTA (0-1) -5.5 vs Carolina (1-0)
One of us lives in the greater Atlanta area. The other lived in Charlotte for 9 years. And we’re both from New York. We’re highly qualified for the analysis below.
It’s unclear how Atlanta can be favored over anyone after throwing up all over themselves with the game on the line last week. Matt Ryan looked scared in the pocket. He threw up more than a few hook shots to get the ball away from the pressure, turning his back away from the play. He underthrew Jones near the end-zone on a wounded-duck interception and overthrew him on the last play of the game. What a waste of a weapon.
Carolina did just enough to beat a Cowboys team that is not-so-secretly-now terrible. Cam almost gave McCaffrey a handoff at the 3 on an inside trap play but pulled it back at the last minute and took it in himself. We called that one. There’s a great article about how the Cowboys are wasting Dak’s rookie contract. They’ll pay him $2MM for his first 3 full years. Jimmy G, for comparison, is making $2.6MM per game. Their biggest free agent move with all that cap space was Nolan Campbell, a cornerback they released after 81 snaps (or 11.5 Kiser So-So turnovers).
So here’s where the New York roots matter. The Falcons call plays like the Giants and Ryan plays like Eli. The Panthers just beat a team that’s managed like the Knicks. We’ll play those percentages again.
The House Divided Pick of the Week brought to you by Hurricane Florence: Carolina +5.5
1 Fireball shot
PITTSBURGH (0-0-1) -5.5 vs Kansas City (1-0)
On Tyreke Hill’s second TD last weekend it looked like he was waving at the defender as he ran down the sideline. We say he just was trying to keep stable so he didn’t have a catastrophic loss of stability at high velocity. Like the beginning of the movie The Right Stuff, where the unnamed test pilot loses control at Mach 0.95, leading to the visit by the creepy preacher. Best first 15 minutes of any big sweeping drama. Highly recommended.
Last year the Steelers squeaked out a 3-point win at the Browns in the opener, then beat the heck out of the Vikings in their home opener on their way to 13-3. The last time that the Chiefs won in Pittsburgh was 1984. 1984! As in Three Rivers Stadium. All signs point to Pittsburgh, right? Wrong. Andy Reid has had way too much time to prepare for this game. Pittsburgh may pull it out, but if they do it’s by 3.
Pick: Chiefs +5.5
1 Fireball shot
WASHINGTON (1-0) -5.5 vs Indianapolis (0-1)
How to think about the week 1 performance of both of these teams. Is Indy as bad as people thought? Will Luck’s return save them from scraping the bottom of the league? (we mean, that plus the existence of the Bills and the Browns) Are the Redskins good or are the Cardinals just really bad? Will Alex Smith be able to carry the team when AP (166 yds from scrimmage) slows down from getting 25-30 touches a game? Are we not doing the “Washington Professional Football Team” thing anymore?
You want answers? No. Yes. Both. No. That’s so 2016. (Way to stick to your convictions, America.)
Pick: Redskins -5.5
1 Fireball shot
Thanks as always for reading. Stay safe, those of you dealing with the storm. The rest of you are on your own.